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I'm a new (and currently the only) IT guy at a small company (around 20 employees). I'm looking to get a small server for our company so that we could manage access to shared storage and sync outlook tasks/calendars and maybe eventually do some light processing on it. We currently don't have a dedicated room for a server (as they are noisy) so we would need to put it in one of the offices. I was thinking of reusing a nice gaming rig and adding a bit of extra RAM to use as a server as we don't have very high demand for data processing and not many users at once. What sort of specs are recommended for running a Windows Server (mostly for Microsoft Exchange).

I don't have any experience with building and running servers so sorry if I'm asking or saying something stupid.

Thanks in advance!

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Required Hardware:

Microsoft Exchange 2019 has 128 GB minimum recommended RAM size. Source

This is going to be difficult to do with an old gaming rig. However, there are many services that you can set up on that hardware.

Getting Started:

I would recommend using that old gaming PC (if you already have one that is) to set up a linux environment and start running different services in VMs. This will net you some good experience and give you a good testing environment.

For anything major, you should move on to a service like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud until you get a dedicated server space. Be aware that you may never need to move to having your own server space as these services are often more cost effective for your company.

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  • Thanks a lot for your response. – adminguy123 Jan 10 at 7:30
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small company (around 20 employees)... small server... access to shared storage and sync outlook tasks/calendars... and maybe do some light processing on it

What sort of specs are recommended for running a Windows Server (mostly for Microsoft Exchange).

my first recommendation would be to talk to your boss, chief information officer, or president (depending on company) because today doing what you are asking is no longer a trivial matter, especially regarding data security, legal requirements, lawsuits, etc. So you don't just want to build any old computer/server and have it wherever. Talk to whoever would be held accountable for such a problem should it arise,

that may then lead to a dedicated server room being made available, having locked door or badged access, where you can set up resources and have it functional and reliable... reusing a nice gaming rig is not professional.

basically... workstations (i.e. your thought of gaming rig) are desktop pc's which will be limited to ~ 64gb or ram and are expected to be used by one person at a time. A server can be the same hardware, but will be in a rack server form factor, hold greater than 64gb of ram, and allow for better networking capability, to allow reliable and better performance to run MS exchange mail server and provide a data share.

you may want to look into NAS - network attached storage, which will be separate disks and hardware to provide data storage which would be separate from an MS exchange server; having one server do everything increases likelihood of everything not working one morning when something fails (and it will) so you have to plan all that out and understand what you actually need vs want vs budget. For however small a company, you just don't throw a gaming rig together to allow the company to do business; if it needs to be "cheap" then you may want to rethink your business strategy. You can find small business servers from DellEMC or HPE, you would call them tell them what you need and they will advise you on the type of hardware to be used, and you can always get refurbished/reconditioned if you are looking for less expensive equipment.

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  • or you can outsource to the cloud, which may be the least expensive way to do what you ask these days – ron Feb 25 at 18:58
  • Thanks for your reply. We do have a NAS but it's old and was poorly configured by my predecessor. We've purchased a new Synology DiskStation DS1019+ which will be more than sufficient for years to come.The processing we would do is minimal (some file conversions and such) which is why I wanted to reuse an old computer. – adminguy123 Feb 28 at 7:37

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